We entered the weekend with this as our sign that we were at the dawn of a new era. Texas A&M would be comfortably nestled in the arms of a new daddy; leaving Texas' shadow and moving to the SEC West where Mike Slive would watch over them from his throne while Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas welcomed them with some humbling gut punches. Folks like Gregg Doyel went so far as to praise the Aggies for the move that, while placing their marginal football success of in jeopardy, would prove they were thinking of themselves in this desire to get out of Texas' thumb, sort of.
But then things happened. The Big XII started action to combat the "toxic interference" and the SEC tabled their talks to follow the correct protocol. Reports of the SEC adding Mizzou, Clemson and Florida State were kicked to the curb for now, aided by the revelation of a "gentleman's agreement" not to add schools from states where current SEC member institutions were located.
That agreement, if (big IF) honored, stops the Clemson, Florida State talk as well as the fringe Louisville, Miami and Georgia Tech discussion. It means eyes turn to the states of North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and perhaps even Missouri. No current SEC presence there and, as we learned back in 2003 during the ACC expansion move, expanding the footprint is as important as anything else in regard to growing a league.
Even as the SEC presidents elect to not invite aTm to the party this doesn't mean that it is over. Teams and conferences get a chance to go back to the drawing board, examine their current footing and take the time between now and next offseason to make their contacts and come up with a plan. There is no rush.
The BCS agreement expires after the 2013 season so come January 2014 everything will be on the table. Turner and Fox will be in the market after their foray into the Pac-12 has a chance to show people they can produce a better product than the BCS games we watched in horror for so many years. ABC/ESPN will be in the market as well for those rights.
Teams have 1100 and some odd days between this moment right now and the start of the 2013 season to align themselves for the best possible BCS future. It seems wise for teams, and leagues, to be mindful of the seemingly inevitable Super Conference movement.
Leagues like the Big Ten, the SEC and the Pac-12 are going to get to 16 through addition while that fourth league will become a conglomerate of "those guys left behind." The biggest possibility concerning the Super Conference and the BCS? The possibility of not just one, but two automatic BCS births for the leagues as their 8 team divisions are, essentially, a full BCS conference themselves. You know, just like the Big East.
Schools will have to decide if they're better served leaving what they have now to join up with the power or play the waiting game and just hope for the best after the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 get the parts that they need. Sitting on your hands, not exploring options and just hoping it "falls into place" is akin to being content watching your house fall down around you, schools have to look out for number one.
The dawn of the new era is upon us folks. It didn't happen this weekend as many expected but there is far too much smoke; from the disgruntled Big XII and in the greater college football landscape in general, for things to not catch fire in the future. Good thing is there is no rush to get to the mark. The ACC, Big XII, Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC have all recently signed new TV deals while the Big East's time is coming soon, teams are set well for the immediate future.
The next big thing will be the BCS extension, the possibility of two auto-bids for Super Conferences means more money and better aligning one's self for the next decade plus.
What the landscape looks like come 2014's new agreement should be interesting.
Great article. What do you think will happen to the smaller conferences like Conference USA, the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt?
@trojanscooter I don't think they can get put into a worse position than they are now? Unless the guys get it of the mind to move from NCAA, then they'd likely be merged into FCS and we'd just see a large realm of those guys being called D-1 football.